Branham v. Thomas M. Cooley Law Sch., No. 10-2305 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Branham began teaching in 1983 and was a tenured law professor. She sometimes suffered from seizures. She had a 12-month teaching contract for 2006. For the spring semester she was assigned to teach constitutional law and torts. Branham indicated that she did not want to teach the classes, citing health reasons and her greater experience with criminal law. She nonetheless taught the courses. In summer Branham sold her house, moved to Illinois, and was granted a leave of absence. Assigned to teach constitutional law after returning from leave, she refused to do so. The dean terminated her employment in December. Her contract required that dismissal be voted upon by faculty. That process was not initially followed. Branham sought damages for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract. The district court dismissed all but the contract claim, granted a motion to limit the remedy on the contract-breach claim to equitable relief, held that the school had breached the contract, and ordered compliance. Faculty and the board of directors concurred in the dismissal. The district court entered judgment against Branham. The Sixth Circuit affirmed.